Asked about the seamers’ deployment – particularly Joseph’s – during the post-match presentation, Hardik confessed that he had found it challenging to juggle so many bowling options. He said he used Joseph at that stage because he felt his hard lengths were suited to the surface.
“To be very honest, having this impact rule makes my job quite difficult because when you have too many options, you have to pick the right option, and I think because of this reason, someone will bowl less,” he said. “I had to just pick and kind of back [my instinct], where I felt that going hard lengths was the plan for me, and it kind of worked, so yeah, some of the bowlers came late but they did the job for us.”
Titans eventually reached their target with four balls to spare, and the manner of their victory had echoes of the 2022 season, when their lower order pulled off a number of rescue acts. The equation came down to 23 off the last two overs, and they got over the line thanks to vital hits from Rashid and Rahul Tewatia.
“When you have Rashid Khan in your team, it gives you a sigh of relief,” Hardik said, when asked about the Afghanistan allrounder’s Player-of-the-Match-winning performance. “He can come and bowl and get you wickets and at the end of the day if you need some runs he’ll come and smack it and make our job easy.
“But I think my shot and Shubman’s shot did put us in a difficult situation, because within the team we have some standards which we have set very high, so from that we have to learn and make sure that these guys don’t have to all the time finish the game, and we’d rather be there and finish the game.”